Sunday, August 31, 2008

Clay Morton

Thirty-one years (27 at the DMN) to build a journalism career. Ten minutes to end it. Of course, I knew it could happen, but experiencing the layoff came as a shock -- once the numbness wore off.

Fortunately, I have Sharon and my kids, friends and even Bangs the Dog and Vince and Comet the Cats for support. All have been wonderful.

I really have only two regrets about my time at the DMN: One, that I didn’t get to know more of you better; two, that I wasn’t able to out-Bob Miller Bob Miller.

I especially enjoyed my years spent playing small-town newspaper man in the office on the Rockwall square. It was wonderful fun, and I’m grateful to the DMN for the opportunity.

More recently, as economic conditions forced a retreat from the local-local strategy, I enjoyed midwifing stories of more regional interest. I’m proud that all three of my most recent reporter-partners were able to mine the suburbs for 1A stories.

As some of you know, in my personal life I rely less on faith than on philosophy for comfort. Here’s mine:

Whoever said time is money was wrong. Time is infinitely more precious than money. And no investment of time can make it grow. The best we can do is to spend it wisely.
For me, that means wasting not a minute in bitterness.

Short term, I plan to take a couple of weeks to read, reflect and perhaps trek around Big Bend a bit. (How many people get the chance for a mid-career break?)

Also, it’s occurred to me that I’m now free to plant an Obama sign in my yard – another perk of disaffiliation with a newspaper.

Then, of course, I’ll need to relearn the art of resume writing and sleuth out potential non-newspaper places to put newspapering skills to work. (This seems a good time to diversify the family’s sources of income.)

I know the whole layoff process has been an ordeal, as well, for those of you who remain. My advice is to put the pain behind you as quickly as possible and enjoy the journalism ride as much as possible for as long as possible.

We core readers are depending on you!


Anonymous said...

I'm really sorry you got ensnared in this layoff.
Reporters and editors often have adversarial relationships, and we were not the exception.
We didn't always see eye-to-eye on the direction some of my stories went. Sometimes we conflicted. But we laughed a lot, had fun most of the time, and got some really good stories in. You often went above and beyond an editor's job. And I can honestly say that at the end of the day, when you'd finished with my copy, my stories read better. Sometimes that's a hard thing for a reporter to say to an editor *grins*
For that, and your leadership and friendship, I thank you and wish you the best of luck.
Stephanie Sandoval

Dawn said...

Clay, I'm so sorry to learn you're no longer with TDMN. You not only shared news and stories with neighborsgo - you shared your wisdom, encouragement, advice, support and philosophy. Even when you weren't necessarily aware that you were doing it. Although we didn't work together directly, you were a guiding light, a staple, a rock. I will miss stopping in to talk to you, or exchanging the occasional work emails about what's happening in the Metro world. I will miss your feedback on neighborsgo. I hope to see you around in Rockwall. And I wish the best for you and your family. I know you will be trekking around doing that mountain climbing or whatever it is you do that kept you so sane in such a crazy and ever-changing environment.